‘WOLVES PREPARE FOR GAMES AT BROCK AND LAURIER
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
After opening 2010 with sweeps for and against, the Lakehead Thunderwolves will look to stabilize their second half rollercoaster as they travel to St. Catharines, Ontario for a Friday game with the Brock Badgers before heading to Waterloo, Ontario to battle the Laurier Golden Hawks, Saturday night. Friday’s game starts at 7:35 p.m. EST with Saturday’s actions getting underway at 7:30 p.m. EST.No. 10 Lakehead (13-5-2) sits at third in the OUA West, two points back of No. 7 Laurier (14-4-2) and one point ahead of Waterloo while Brock (8-12-1) is in a three-way tied for seventh with UOIT and Windsor and needs points to secure a playoff spot. LU swept Brock at home in October and later split a November series with Laurier at the Fort William Gardens.
“The upcoming weekend is the most important weekend of the year as we remain in a four-team battle at the top of the OUA West,” says Thunderwolves head coach Joel Scherban. “Brock is a hard-working, well-coached team that is battling for their playoff lives. Laurier is having another successful season. Given that we are currently two points behind Laurier our two remaining games against them will have playoff implications.”
Both games will be broadcast live in the Thunder Bay area on Rock 94 FM and around the world on Rock94.com with sports director Bryan Wyatt calling the action.
The midseason additions of freshman forward Matt Caria (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario), Matt Dias (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and Ryan McDonald (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan) have come a key time for the Thunderwolves as they have dealt with various injuries to leading scorer Brock McPherson (Brampton, Ontario).
All three recruits have logged heavy minutes with Caria producing two goals and six assists in just four games. McDonald and Dias have emerged as steady goal-scorers and both players have three tallies with two assists.
After sitting out last Friday’s game as a healthy scratch, fifth-year senior Dan Speer (Thunder Bay, Ontario) responded with a three-point night on Saturday. Speer and fellow fifth-year senior Scott Dobben (Drayton, Ontario) will be counted on for their offensive play this weekend.
Junior Kris Hogg (Sicamous, British Columbia) tallied five points last weekend against Windsor and was stellar alongside freshman Andrew Wilkins (Pickering, Ontario) on the penalty kill. Lakehead will need contributions for the duo, along with freshman Victor Anilane (Gothenburg, Sweden), senior Mark Soares (Burnaby, British Columbia), sophomore Adam Sergerie (Thunder Bay, Ontario) and fifth-year senior Shandor Alphonso (Orangeville, Ontario) to keep a high level of energy on the forecheck.
The ‘Wolves recently welcomed back defenseman Pierre-Marc Guilbault (St. Julie, Quebec) after the junior missed time due to injury. His return gives Lakehead a major scoring boost on the blue line as Guilbault is the OUA’s leading goal-scorer among D-men with nine markers to go with four assists.
The pairing of junior Ryan Baird (Thunder Bay) and senior captain Jordan Smith (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) were effective against the Lancers and give the ‘Wolves a versatile combination of puck-moving ability and hitting on the blue line. Junior Mitch Maunu (Thunder Bay), sophomore Kalvin Sagert (Abbotsford, British Columbia) give Lakehead size and depth at defence with both players provided the Pack with consistent offensive production.
In goal, junior Kyle Moir (Calgary) is coming off perhaps his best effort of the season after making 36 saves in Lakehead’s Saturday win over the Lancers. The Thunderwolves will need two good performances from their starter against the Badgers and the Hawks.
Veteran head coach Murray Nystrom are in building mode, two years after reaching the CIS Championships at Moncton, New Brunswick. With only three players with more than three years of CIS experience, the Badgers will rely on several players approaching the prime of their university hockey careers at Lakehead. Always a disciplined, defence-oriented team, the Badgers will look to grind it out and slow Lakehead’s potent scorers. Having opened the season 4-0-0 with wins over Western and Waterloo, Brock has shown the ability to upset some top-tier opponents.
Junior centre Vince Scott (Mississauga, Ontario) is Brock’s leading point-getter with four goals and 14 assists in conference play while sophomore Derek Brochu (Welland, Ontario) is also a threat on the attack with seven goals, six assists. Junior Steve Mullin (Guelph, Ontario) leads the team with eight goals.
Fifth-year defenseman George Bradley (Burlington, Ontario) serves as Brock’s captain and the team’s most experienced player. Senior Eric Toonders (Winchestor, Ontario) leads the Badgers blueliners with seven points, including six assists while both junior Steve Pattison (Red Deer, Alberta) and freshman Joe Tolles (Toledo, Ohio) have accounted for four goals this year.
In net, freshman Mark Yetman (Mount Pearl, Newfoundland) will be the likely starter with fellow first year Jordan Bent (St. George, New Brunswick) serving as the backup.
Laurier Golden Hawks
Under the leadership of head coach Kelly Nobes, the Golden Hawks have positioned themselves nicely in the tough OUA West as the season heads into the home stretch.
Capable of going head-to-head offensively with the ‘Wolves, Laurier boasts a solid group of scorers among the elite in the conference. Fifth-year senior Paul Bradley (Calgary) leads the charge with team-leading 15 goals and 17 assists. Always a danger, junior centre Jean-Michel Rizk (Dunham, Quebec) has 12 goals and 15 assists on the year while senior Ryan Bellows (St. Catharines, Ontario) adds 10 goals and 16 assists in OUA play.
Despite missing some time, junior Craig Voakes (St. Thomas, Ontario) has reprised his status as one of the Hawks’ top players with six goals and 16 assists in only 16 games.
The Golden Hawks can punish teams from the blue line as well where sophomores Phil Magistrale (Tsawwassen, British Columbia), senior Chad Kennedy (Mississauga, Ontario) and senior Ryan Bernardi (Etobicoke, Ontario) have all posted stellar offensive numbers.
Laurier has alternated between fifth-year goalie Jeff MacDougald (Shallow Lake, Ontario) and freshman Ryan Daniels (Pickering, Ontario) throughout the season. Both men have been relatively effective with MacDougald posting a 3.61 GAA and a 0.886 SV% to Daniels’ 3.47 GAA and 0.910 SV%.